Article and Photography by Tyrone Roberts.
The air was filled with billowing smoke, the scent of fresh rubber, and the sounds of bristling engines popping off their rev limiters. It’s that time of the year when Club Loose comes out of hibernation. A couple weekends ago was what the local East Coast drifting enthusiasts look forward to throughout the winter season: Opening Moves. For some of you who have never heard of Club Loose, it’s the group to be around when it comes to East Coast grassroots drifting. If you’ve seen the viral videos on YouTube of the Bloodmasters , then you’ll know who we’re talking about.
Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey, has been home to many of today’s Formula Drift pros. Drift Alliance drivers Ryan Tuerck, Vaughn Gittin Jr., and 2014 Formula Drift Round One winner, Chris Forsberg have kicked off yet another fantastic year of grassroots drifting. Their reputation . . . Strictly drifting.
The Flipzco driver Chris Allen leaving smoke as he hits his rev limiter.
Club Loose has come up with a well-organized system to get their drivers the most track time possible. Divided by experience and skill, drivers are split up into three groups: Group A, B and C, with the more experienced drivers in Group A and the less experienced in Group C.
The main track consists of numerous technical turns, but none too difficult for group B and C to get sideways on; just enough to keep it fun. You’ll find yourself going 40-50 mph in fourth gear down a straight line to enter your first turn, down to being in second gear drifting up an elevated bank or down a depressed turn.
What also keeps this track interesting is the huge bank turn at the end of the course.
It clearly didn’t matter what car people brought out to the track. If you’re a fan of the Nissan 240SX, then you would have been in heaven. Plenty of your average Nissan 240SXs arrived, as well as a host of other cars, including an old BMW 3 Series sedan.
Don’t have a fully dedicated drift missile? No worries. Bring out your daily driver—as long as it’s rear-wheel drive and capable of breaking loose, you’re more than welcome. Getting sideways in your daily? That’s hooning to the fullest.
One bad Nissan 350Z (what we think was a V8) was as loud as could be, while putting on a smoke show and ripping it up for the crowd.
Check out this beautifully built 240SX with an SR20DET swap and an Onevia aero kit; daily driven and drifted.
Two S-Chassis chasing in tandem; it’s pretty much a fight for the best line and angle of drift. According to the drivers at Opening Moves, there’s no better feeling than drifting in tandem with your brethren.
This S15, sponsored by E-Shift Performance, was here strictly to practice his lines! He most definitely had the crowd on their feet.
Unfortunately, it rained the day before, so the track did get a little muddy. Some cars spun into the grass and, due to their ride height, were stuck, waiting for a track tow truck to pull them out.
Aren’t quite sure you know what it takes to get a car ready for some sideways action? Let’s break it down for you.
Setting up these cars for drifting is somewhat simple. Experienced drivers usually recommend starting off with a rust free chassis to prevent any issues in the future.
Take as much unnecessary weight out of the car, such as seats, spare tires, interior carpet, AC/heating systems, wiring cables and harnesses, and, even sometimes, the power steering system. After all, who needs creature comforts?
One major aspect of building a drift car is keeping the engine cool. During a session, you’ll be feathering your throttle and, from time to time, find yourself red lining your engine, depending on the corners, apex, speed and other variables. An over-heated engine will bring hell to your day at the track.
Last but not least, a hydraulic hand braking system to lock those rear wheels. This system is not really needed according to some of the locals, but it is recommended and certainly comes in "handy” for the beginners.
Once you have that basic setup, there is nothing left to do but start practicing . . . Preferably on a track!
Some people will never understand drifting sport or the lifestyle. Depending on your background in the automotive scene for instance, "grip” fanatics will say, "Why would anyone want to power-slide around turns and waste perfectly good rubber?” Well, the perfect answer to that is to find out for yourself. Put a full-face helmet on, take a ride-along with a drifter, and experience the feeling. Just know that we consider it living the Modlife!